2000 Toyota Chaser Avante (GX100)

Sold and Exported

Want a Proper Sedan with Understated Class and a Sporting Bloodline? Go for a GX100 Chassis Toyota Chaser. (And Get the 5-Speed Manual. Like This One.) 

The GX100 Chaser is a Tried and True Design. These Cars Run Forever!

My Toyota sedan was a “sister under the skin” to this 2000 Chaser Avante that we recently exported direct from Japan to Ireland, via the Port of Dublin. I loved that sedan and he was one of the mechanically best cars I have ever owned. He was a 1997 E150 series Crown and he had the same engine as this year 2000 Chaser that we are looking at here. We are talking about the legendary 1G-FE, like this one here:

I was chatting one time at the old Kanto Autoworks Higashifuji Plant with the man who designed my Crown (you can read that story here) and he told me that these two liter straight sixes just go for ever. “We’ve been using them in the Toyota Taxi for dogs ages, and they just go and go. Some of our taxis in Hong Kong do well over 600,000kms; and that’s downtown, stop and go, hard service.”

Pretty good, eh? But it doesn’t surprise me. I can’t recall having to do any maintenance on my Toyota 1G engine except oil and filter, air filter, one coolant change, and…I think that’s it. Oh, yeah, there was one thing, but it wasn’t an engine problem, it was an irritating wind whistle at 65 to 90 kilometers per hour. Took me 8 hours, a roll of masking tape, and a bucket of frustration to track that noise down. But I was proud as a peacock once I’d done it!

Have a peek now at the 1G-FE engine of this Chaser Avante we are looking at here:

See anything different with the motor in my Crown? Yep. The black plastic engine cover that has “BEAMS” written on it.

Although the engine code is the same, 1G-FE, the engine in this 2000 Chaser is the final iteration of the 1G series. (To learn a bit more about Toyota engine codes, have a look on our Blog here.) It’s got Toyota’s VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence) system, and it has had the compression ratio raised from 9.6:1 to 10:1. With these changes, and a few other tweaks, Toyota, who really do take “continuous improvement” seriously, was able to raise engine power from 135ps to 160ps, and engine torque from 18kg/m to 20.4kg/m. Fuel economy went up nicely, too. And, a little point I always liked, the BEAMS unit still burns regular (cheap!) gas. Love it. Our customer in Ireland who bought this GX-100 Chaser is winning. He’s one of our “Winnermen.” (Click here to read about how JCD uses this word to describe our customers.)

The Toyota Chaser is a Solid Sports Sedan that Won’t Break the Bank

The Toyota Chaser is, to my mind, definitely what I call a “sports sedan.” The handling is good; right up there with my police car Crown. (If you’ve read the story on our Japan Car Direct Blog that we linked to above in the second paragraph, you’ll know that my guy was, in fact, the cop car spec machine. Read it! Read it! I love telling that story.)

Chasers are also known as one of the kings of the drift car circuit (have a look here for more info on Japan Domestic Market drift cars).

The top spec units in the Toyota Chaser / Cresta / Mark II line up, the Tourer-V cars,

are, with their 2.5 liter turbo intercooled straight six monster power rocket motors, right at the top of the sports sedan world. Check them out here.

And, just to work the drift car fans into a lather, here’s another top end Chaser that we shipped from Japan recently:

How about it, Ladies and Gents? Is the temperature rising?

Our Customer is the Winnerman

Now, coming back down to Earth, this two liter Toyota Chaser Avante gone to Dublin has something that my police Crown, to my frustration and (a bit) to my disappointment, did not have. Check it out:

Yep. You got it. The five speed manual transmission. I really, really wanted that in my Toyota sedan. Couldn’t get it. Our man in Ireland really is a “Winnerman.” (And I’m a bit jealous.)

He scored with this second hand car from Japan in other ways as well. Look at the pictures of the car we’ve got here. You’ll see that, while the interior is in nice condition, clean and with no real signs of wear except that scratch on the center console, the left hand side of the car has two scrape marks with shallow dents. The left side wheel covers look like they have been rubbed against a curb. The left front bumper shows some paint discoloration. The right side of the car shows no signs of any bumps or scrapes but, with those marks on the left, we can’t say that the body surface of this car is pristine. Our inspector graded the car as a 3C. (To learn about the auction inspection system and how to read a Japanese used car auction inspection report, have a look on our site here and here.)

But look now at the pictures showing the engine bay. We are looking at a pretty clean power plant here. Couple that with the nice interior and the fact that the engine and the manual transmission of this car are both long lived units and we are beginning to see that this secondhand car from Japan was a smart purchase.

With just under 110,000 miles on him, this Chaser sedan still has lots of service life left ahead of him. And there is lots of parts crossover with other Toyota offerings (Crown, Mark II, Cresta, and more) so parts will be available for quite some time. Fact is, due to its reliability and the good availability of parts, and due to its basic simplicity (FR layout, manual trans, and straight engine), this is a machine that our customer in Ireland will be able to keep happily on the road for years to come and at a reasonable cost. This is a used car that will not break the bank.

So you see why we call our customers “Winnermen?”

The “Techniques” for Buying a Good Used Car from Japan

I’d really like to tell you what this car sold for at auction, but here at Japan Car Direct, what our customers pay for their vehicles is commercially privileged information. So what can I tell you about the price? I can tell you this: Looking at the condition of this vehicle, a used GX100 chassis Toyota Chaser with 110,000 miles on him, looking at the long expected future life, looking at the overall condition, internal, external, and mechanical, would I pay what our customer paid for the car? Yes. Would I consider that I had got a good deal? Yes.

I’d now fix those two small dents and freshen up the paint and then treasure this manual transmission Chaser for years. The little dents and scrapes are what brought the purchase price down to very reasonable for a Chaser Avante. It’s just like with the 2005 Daihatsu Mira I bought here in Japan last month:

Great little unit, low mileage and super clean. The sun wear paint discoloration on the roof dropped the price way down so that I could just pick him up as a third car and load hauler for the coming winter. Didn’t bat an eyelash at the price. (And more to the point, neither did my wife!)

I say in my profile on our JCD Team page here, that I’ve never bought a new car; and it’s true. My first technique over my many years of buying and driving used cars goes like this: I look for good used cars that have potentially long service lives due to overall quality, simplicity and good parts cross over. I look at cars that have slightly higher mileages on them and one or two minor dents or scrapes or, as in the case of our Mira, some sun wear on the paint. I don’t pay much, preferring to use the money saved to do any needed repairs and improvements.

My second technique with buying used cars here in Japan is what I call the “JCD technique” because, when Scott brought me into this business years ago, he outlined it and the reasoning behind it. He basically said that, when you are buying a car at auction, go for the best grade and condition of vehicle that you can afford. The inspectors know what they are doing and the grading systems are fair and tell you a lot. Set your max bidding price in your own mind, then make your bid and be ready to just push a little more on the bidding day so that you don’t miss that really good deal. Long term, the car will work out and you’ll never regret that little bit extra that got you that good used car from Japan.

That’s the technique I used when I bought my 2002 NB2 Mazda Miata / MX5.

I paid a little bit extra for that car, it’s true, but I’ve still got it, he’s never cost me much in repairs (couple of fan belts and a door window motor), and I’m still planning to keep him forever. I don’t ever regret the little extra I paid for him. (And he came with a hard top included in the deal. Yeah!)

So which technique, or which combination of techniques, you use when you buy a good used car from Japan will be up to your judgment and experience and will be based, of course, on the type of car that you are looking for. There are so many, many good used cars at good prices available here in Japan from the used car auctions and the private dealers and sellers that we work with. In many of the countries where most of our customers are, the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Ireland (just click on the country name to find out about the used car from Japan import rules), with the hard times we are all feeling these days, used car prices are up, way up, sometimes stupidly up, but buying a used car in Japan and doing a self import is still the best way to get a good second hand car at a good price; and the guys here at JCD, Matt, Yoshi, Scott and the whole team are ready to guide you through the process of selection, auction bidding, export from Japan and shipping to your home country. So register here and we’ll help you “Enjoy the Process and Love the Results.”

So what’s your technique going to be? I’ve won with both.

(And a note about saving money when importing a used car from Japan to Ireland: Our customers in Ireland have had success lowering their import duty by noting to Irish customs that the used car they are importing is of “Japanese Preferential Origin.” You’ll find the document from Irish Tax and Customs that explains the system here.)

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